Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeff Niemann out at least three weeks

BALTIMORE — RHP Jeff Niemann, who on Friday was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, will be missing from the Rays rotation for a minimum of three weeks, manager Joe Maddon said.

Niemann was pulled from his last start, Wednesday against the Blue Jays, after four innings because of tightness after Maddon grew concerned when the velocity on his fastball dipped to 86-87 mph. Maddon said Niemann will not begin throwing for at least a week and would need time to rehab.

"We're going to sit him down for one week, and then he'll start gradually getting back in the swing of things," Maddon said. "I'm looking at probably a minimum of three weeks before you get a good idea what's going to happen next."

Because the Rays have a day off Monday, when Niemann was scheduled to pitch, Maddon could have skipped his turn and pitched David Price on Tuesday at Cleveland. But Maddon said the Rays will start RHP Andy Sonnanstine, depending on how much he works this weekend, or make a roster move so Price and Shields are available May 16-17 against the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

RHP Alex Cobb is not a candidate to start because he was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Monday and must spend at least 10 days there. But LHP Alex Torres, 2-2 with a 1.78 ERA at Durham, is a candidate.

UPTON AWAITS FATE: The Rays expect to learn today if CF B.J. Upton will be suspended for his ninth-inning tantrum after being called out on strikes Wednesday.

Upton said he anticipates a fine and suspension after throwing his helmet and batting gloves and having to be restrained from going after plate umpire Chad Fairchild by third-base coach Tom Foley and bench coach Dave Martinez.

Perhaps in anticipation of Upton's possible suspension, the Rays recalled OF Brandon Guyer from Durham after placing Niemann on DL. But Maddon said the move was made in part to give slumping LF Sam Fuld a day off.

"It's purely based on Niemann's down. We don't need that other starter until next week," Maddon said. "So we want to be able to give (Fuld) a day off. Left-handed pitcher for them (Zach Britton). Why not bring up Brandon? It just makes sense."

SLUMPING SAM: Fuld got his first day off after watching his batting average plummet over the past seven games from .350 to .261 while he went 2-for-35.

Maddon said Fuld needed a rest, a primary reason the Rays recalled Guyer.

"I don't know if I feel like I need it, but I feel like it's a good way to recharge the batteries," Fuld said. "I might be a little mentally tired. It's been kind of a rough last week."

Fuld began the season on a tear and at one point was the American League's leading hitter. Since April 28, Fuld has hit .057, third lowest in the AL.

"Compared to slumps I've had in the past, I haven't analyzed this at all. There may be something mechanically I'm doing wrong, but I've looked at film. There's nothing really glaring that I feel like I'm doing anything different. Some of it has been bad luck. I've hit some balls pretty well at people. I'm sure I'm pressing a little bit, but I don't feel like there's a lot that's going on."

Maddon said Fuld has been hitting the ball in the air too much, which could be a sign he's tired.

"The contact is good. The eye at the plate has been good," Maddon said "It's just been in the air too much. Sometimes, that is the residue of a little bit of fatigue. Smaller guys, I always want to pay attention to them. When they put the ball in the air too much, that could be an indicator of fatigue."

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeff Niemann out at least three weeks 05/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 6, 2011 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.
  2. Rays morning after: Steven Souza Jr.'s status is a major concern


    The Rays will know more about the status of RF Steven Souza Jr. later today after reviewing results of a scheduled MRI and exam of the left hip he strained in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.

    Steven Souza Jr. strained his left hip in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.
  3. Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) works to play the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (01/03/17).
  4. 2008 playoff thoughts in bloom for Rays; Souza injury not expected serious in loss to A's

    The Heater

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Before the 7-2 loss to the A's and Steven Souza Jr.'s hip injury, or at least scare, Wednesday started with good vibes in the Rays' clubhouse.

    Rays rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. hurts his hip after an awkward slide into second base during the first inning.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways on Wednesday's Rays-A's game

    The Heater

    Jake Faria wasn't going straight to Cooperstown at 500-0, so a day like Wednesday was going to happen, when he made too many mistakes. The challenge now is how he responds. Incidental casualty: His first loss in nine starts since getting engaged.